West Virginia head coach Neal Brown is facing a crucial test this week as his team takes on Texas Tech. After a victory against rival Pitt, the Mountaineers need to prove that they can continue their winning streak. This game is not only important for the team’s success but also for Brown’s future as the head coach.
Brown has been training for his future throughout this year. With WVU’s football program struggling with a sub-.500 record and mediocre performances in Big 12 play during Brown’s tenure, there were doubts about his ability to lead the team. When athletic director Wren Baker took over, many expected him to make changes and potentially replace Brown.
However, instead of making an immediate decision, Baker decided to evaluate Brown’s performance throughout the season. He emphasized that it wouldn’t solely be based on the final record but also how Brown conducted himself as a coach. This evaluation period presented a challenge for Brown from the start, especially considering low expectations at the beginning of the season.
WVU was predicted to finish last in the expanded Big 12 conference. Despite this, Brown confidently declared that his team would prove everyone wrong and exceed expectations. However, with no previous ranking at WVU and a challenging schedule ahead, fans became increasingly skeptical.
The season began with an uphill battle as WVU faced Penn State, ranked seventh in the nation at that time. The Mountaineers lost and criticism grew louder. But despite setbacks, Brown maintained his belief in an improved team and found hope in their victory over Pitt.
However, it should be noted that Pitt wasn’t considered an elite team, and there were still concerns about offensive progress even after their win. Starting quarterback injuries forced Nicco Marchiol into action, reminiscent of Pat White replacing an injured Adam Bednarik mid-game against Louisville in 2005—a pivotal moment in Mountaineer history.
Marchiol managed to secure victories against Oklahoma State last season and Pitt this year, demonstrating his potential. But the upcoming game against Texas Tech holds even more significance for Brown’s future. If WVU can defeat Texas Techit would send a strong message to the administration and the Big 12.
Brown’s promise of a better team than expected will be put to the test. Beating Texas Techa team that has defeated WVU in their previous four meetings, would prove that they are capable of winning within the conference. It would also encourage fans to support the team and show Baker that progress is being made.
However, it’s important not to jump to conclusions based solely on this game. Baker chose to evaluate Brown throughout the season, and it’s crucial for both Brown and his players to navigate future challenges successfully. The focus should be on negotiating these obstacles rather than immediate reactions or contract changes.
The climax, West Virginia head coach Neal Brown faces an important test as his team takes on Texas Tech. This game will not only determine their success but also have implications for Brown’s future as head coach. According to source article (1), Baker has chosen to evaluate Brown throughout the season before making any decisions.
(1) According to source article: https://www.newsandsentinel.com/sports/local-sports/2023/09/texas-tech-key-for-neal-browns-effort-to-keep-his-job/